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Temporal trends in leisure-time sedentary behavior among adolescents aged 12-15 years from 26 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

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Felez-Nobrega, Mireia 
Raine, Lauren B 
Haro, Josep Maria 
Koyanagi, Ai 


BACKGROUND: Multi-country studies examining trends in sedentary behaviors among adolescents have mainly focused on high-income or Western countries, and almost no data exists for the rest of the world. Thus, this study aims to examine temporal trends in adolescents' leisure time sedentary behavior (LTSB) employing nationally representative datasets from 26 countries from five WHO-defined geographical regions. METHODS: Data from the Global School-based Student Health Survey 2003-2017 were analyzed in 17,734 adolescents [mean (SD) age: 13.7 (1.0) years; 49.0% boys]. LTSB was self-reported and included all types of sedentary behaviors, excluding time spent at school or doing homework. The prevalence and 95%CI of high LTSB (i.e., ≥3 h/day) was calculated for the overall sample and by sex for each survey. Crude linear trends in high LTSB were assessed by linear regression models. Interaction analyses were conducted to examine differing trends among boys and girls. RESULTS: Temporal variations in LTSB substantially diverged across countries, with results showing increasing (6/26 countries), decreasing (4/26) and stable trends. The sharpest increases in LTSB occurred in United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Thailand. Some countries did not show an increase in LTSB prevalence over time but had very high levels of LTSB (i.e., > 40%) across multiple years. Most countries showed no differences in LTSB trends between boys and girls. CONCLUSIONS: Data from our study may serve as an important platform for policymakers, as well as local and national stakeholders, to establish country-specific and tailored strategies for reducing LTSB.



Adolescents, Cohort, Cross-country comparison, Longitudinal, Sitting

Journal Title

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity

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BioMed Central
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/3)
MRC (MC_UU_00006/4)